The Cubs are one win away from locking up home-field advantage until the World Series, but even if they accomplish that tonight, manager Lou Pinella says he’s sticking with his starters this week against the Mets.
''If we need to rest a player here or a player there, that we can do,” Piniella told reporters. “I just can't play the lineup like we're playing today the rest of the week. It just wouldn't be fair to the (contending) teams and it wouldn't be fair to us because we haven't clinched home-field advantage yet either.'' Jason Marquis (10-9, 4.39 ERA) and rookie Johnathon Niese (1-0, 4.09) square off in Game 1 between the Cubs and Mets at Shea Stadium tonight at 7 p.m.
Phillies fielding percentage: We touched on the gloves in the morning post. It’s been a couple years since I’ve picked up ‘Moneyball’ and can’t recall the good measure for assessing defense, if there is such a thing. Fielding percentage doesn’t account for range, but range factor constantly sells excellent defenders like Jimmy Rollins short, yada, yada.
Yesterday, the official press notes mentioned that the Phils have the 5th-best team fielding percentage (.986) in the NL. Rollins, Pedro Feliz, Chase Utley, Shane Victorio and Pat Burrell all rank in the top three at their position. While fielding percentage isn’t an air-tight measure, I thought it was important to mention how many Phillies are making the plays they set out to make. Factor in good seasons by Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz, team defense on the whole has been, at worst, invisible, at best, solid. And they definitely improved since the beginning of the season. Baseball Prospectus confirms this; the Phils rank 8th in baseball in defensive efficiency, the rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs by a team’s defense.
Latest post-season odds: Speaking of BP, the Web site says the Phillies have a 98.3 percent chance at reaching the postseason, seeing a 92-win finish.